In this article, we are going to go over 11 basic on-page optimizations for your articles and blogs. This is intended to be a resource that you can come back to and use. In upcoming lessons, we will take some time to begin to implement what we are learning about here.
The Quick Version
- Core pages, or pillar pages, are going to be the focal point of our clusters. For local businesses, these are generally about your core services or products.
- We will use blog posts to create clusters around our core pages
- Check the “On-Page SEO Checklist” Sheet in your Keyword Research Tool.
- For each article and blog you should aim to include the following:
|Item||Criteria for each article and blog|
|Word Count||1500-2000 for core articles and 600+ for blogs|
|URL||Should contain your main keyword and try to keep the URL’s on the shorter side|
|Title||Should contain your main keyword in it and try to put the keyword towards the front|
|Intro||Use your keyword once in the first 150 words|
|H1||Use your keyword in your H1 heading – Also only use one H1 heading per article|
|H2, H3||Use your keyword or a variation of it in your H2 and H3 headings|
|Images||Give your images relevant file names and add descriptive alt text – Aim to have at least 2 images per post/article|
|Additional Keywords||You don’t want to overuse the same keyword, so try and use variations of it throughout the article|
|Internal Links||For each article, you want to have at least one link to another article on your site. Sub-articles will always link up to core articles.|
|External Links||These are links to other websites. You should aim to include at least 2 links (but you can include more) to authoritative (not spammy) external websites, the more relevant to your niche, the better.|
|Meta Description||Write a short meta description that includes the keyword you are going after.|
The Complete Version
As you’ll recall from our content strategy, we will have our core pages and our supporting blog posts. For each of these types of content, there are certain criteria that we are going to attempt to include to help optimize that page for SEO.
You can find the checklist on the “On-Page SEO Checklist” Sheet in your Keyword Research Tool.
Write for the reader, not for Google
While we do want to do our best to optimize each article, we do not want to overdo it. In the perfect situation, you are able to naturally include everything in this list into your article, but there are going to be certain times when it just isn’t coming together and that is okay.
I would rather you sacrifice some of the “SEO stuff” and have a better, more helpful article than write something awkward and hard to read just so you can check the SEO box.
Remember, Google’s go is to deliver the best piece of content for a user’s search query. Always write for the reader first, and then go back and optimize the article as best you can.
Basic On-Page Optimization for Your Articles and Blogs
For each article and blog, your aim is to include the following:
1 – Word Count
For our core articles, we are aiming for 1,500-2,000 words. I generally try to hit 2,000.
For blog posts I aim for 600+. If I can cross 1,000, I am happy.
Sometimes, I won’t get there right away, and then I will come back later and add some new content to strengthen it.
2 – URL
Your URL should include your main keyword.
In general, try to stay on the shorter side with your URLs.
For example, my main keyword for a page is “Keyword Research” and so I used this URL: https://5minseo.com/keyword-research/
3 – Title
The title of your article should contain your main keyword and try to put the keyword towards the beginning of your title.
4 – Introduction
Aim to use your keyword once in the first 150 words of your article.
5 – Heading 1 (H1)
Use your keyword in your H1 heading – Also only use one H1 heading per article.
6 – Heading 2 and 3 (H2, H3)
Aim to use your keyword or a variation of it in your H2 and H3 headings (These would be subheadings in your article).
7 – Images
Try to include at least 2 images per article and give your images relevant file names and add descriptive alt text.
8 – Additional Keywords
You don’t want to overuse the same keyword, so try and use variations of it throughout the article. A basic example of this could be “car accident attorney” vs “car crash lawyer.”
9 – Internal Links
For each article, you want to have at least one link to another article on your site. This is important because Google’s bots navigate through links. If you have a webpage that doesn’t have anything linking to it, Google will have a harder (if not impossible) time finding it.
Blog posts will always link up to their core article.
10 – External Links
These are links to other websites. You should aim to include at least 2 external links (but you can include more) to authoritative (not spammy) external websites. The more relevant that website is to your niche and topic, the better.
11 – Meta Description
For each article, write a short meta description that includes the keyword you are going after.
On-Page Optimization Plugins to Use
For WordPress, there are a number of different plugins that you can use to help optimize your articles. I would recommend that you install one of them as they will help to make this process much easier.
Rank Math – https://rankmath.com/
Yoast – https://yoast.com/
The SEO Framework – https://theseoframework.com/
There are others as well, but these are three of the more popular ones at the moment.
For what it’s worth, I have been using Rank Math on my sites and have been very happy with them.
There are many other tutorials out there that cover on-page optimization. Here are some of the best:
Don’t be overwhelmed by all of this. Remember, SEO is a long-term game. It is an ongoing process. The important thing is that you keep plugging along, even just a little at a time. You probably won’t be able to fully optimize every piece of content you have right away. But every positive change you can make helps. And then, down-the-road, you come back to that article and make it a little stronger. That is how you are going to win this game.
As always, head over to the 5 Min SEO Facebook Group and post any questions you have there.
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